World Press Freedom Day celebration ended in Quito
Within the framework of its worldwide programme of activities to commemorate World Press Freedom Day this year, UNESCO, in collaboration with the Social Communication Faculty (FACSO) of the Central University of Ecuador, convened a forum-conference on "Press Freedom: Access, participation and alternative and public service media", which closed last week in Quito, Ecuador.
The conference was attended by some 200 representatives of public, private and community media as well as academics, local authorities, journalists and communication students. The participants discussed the current situation of freedom of expression in the Ecuadorian landscape. The debates also focused on the challenges ahead, such as the still pending democratisation of electromagnetic frequency assignments or the introduction of a truly public service broadcasting concept.
Ecuador has recently set up public service media for the first time in its history. Enrique Arosemena, Director of the new public TV channel (TV Ecuador), stressed the importance of opening the channel's board of directors so that all sectors of society are represented.
José Ignacio López Vigil, a well-known community radio advocate, spoke of the important role that community media play in fostering freedom of expression and reminded the audience of the numerous obstacles that these media still have to face in order to survive.